Whether you're moving, looking to clean out a space, or are simply tired of living amidst clutter, you may decide you're ready to dump your excess stuff. One of the the most efficient ways to do this is to hire a professional waste removal company.
But what can you do to ensure that your unwanted belongings don't go straight to a landfill? The best approach is to select an eco-friendly junk removal service that maintains certain environmental standards. We've assembled a roundup of some of the top options for donating, recycling, or reusing your unwanted items.
Our Picks for the Top Eco-Friendly Junk Removal Companies
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall - Junk King
- Best Charity Partnerships - The JunkLuggers
- Best Upfront Pricing - LoadUp
- Best Customer Service - College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving
- Widest Coverage Area - 1-800-GOT-JUNK
- Best DIY Option - Habitat For Humanity ReStore
How We Chose the Best Eco-Friendly Junk Removal Services
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What are the key factors to consider when looking for an eco-friendly decluttering and disposal company?
These are just a few of the things you'll want to bear in mind when choosing the best junk removal team.
What Happens to the Junk?
Always clarify what happens to unwanted items as they are carted off. Reputable services partner with charities to donate usable items like clothing and furniture, while recycling other materials to keep as many things things out of landfills as possible.
How Much Do They Divert from Landfills?
Before hiring a junk removal company, always ask them to clarify what percentage of their "junk" is either donated or recycled, as opposed to dumped in a landfill. We would recommend choosing a company that's willing to offer some transparency on this front to make sure your items are handled in an eco-friendly way.
What Items Will They Pick Up?
You should also clarify which items the company will take, and which items, if any, they won't. Will they take furniture? What about appliances or exercise equipment? You should especially clarify if you need removal of e-waste, that is, electronic devices that have reached the end of their useful life, and which may require special care as they are refurbished or recycled in some way.
Are They Eco-Friendly?
Try to find a junk removal company that celebrates its environmental stewardship, and outlines a long list of specific policies. For instance, are they conscious of fuel-consumption during pickups? Where and how do they sort recyclables and dispose of junk items? Again, transparency is crucial.
Are They Reputable?
Before hiring a junk disposal service, it never hurts to check and see if they are accredited with the Better Business Bureau. Additionally, checking Google and Facebook reviews may give you a rough idea of how well they care for their customers. This will also let you check their coverage areas to make sure they are available where you live.
What are the Rates?
Finally, you'll also want to keep affordability in mind. Don't hesitate to compare and contrast rates as you look for a junk removal service. Some will offer upfront pricing while others will require an on-site estimate.
The Best Eco-Friendly Junk Removal Companies
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Junk King claims to be America's best, and greenest, junk removal service. That's a pretty lofty claim, but it's one that they back up with a proven record.
Here are just a few of the things we like about Junk King:
- They offer full service junk removal from coast to coast, ensuring eco-friendly hauling services are available in most areas.
- They either reuse or recycle about 60 percent of everything you junk; we appreciate their transparency in identifying how much they divert from landfills.
- They can handle almost any kind of junk, ranging from hot tubs and electronics to furniture and old appliances. They can handle e-waste, too.
- Junk King also gives free written estimates, with no obligation to use their service.
Why buy: Junk King excels in eco-stewardship, transparency, and range of services. They are able to recycle a ton of items including large appliances and furniture to electronics like TVs.
The Junkluggers is a waste disposal company that specifically focuses on eco-friendly junk removal. They even offer "green guarantees" regarding their approach to waste management and unwanted junk. Some of the things that stand out about Junkluggers include:
- They always strive to donate first, recycle second.
- They pledge 100 percent customer satisfaction.
- They work with reputable charity and non-profit partners, ensuring your items go to good use.
- They have a range of services, including e-waste removal.
Why buy: The Junkluggers makes sustainability a commitment, including pledges to donate/recycle as many items as possible. We like their commitment to sustainable junk removal and partnering with charities.
LoadUp is currently active in about 170 cities, and they are growing all the time. It's definitely worth double-checking to see if they provide services in your area.
A few things we like about LoadUp:
- They provide a range of services, including junk removal, indoor pickup, and outdoor pickup.
- They can handle a wide range of items, including furniture and appliances.
- They do a great job of presenting clear, up-front pricing.
LoadUp makes every effort to either donate or recycle junk items whenever possible, and to date they have diverted over 3 million pounds of junk from landfills.
Why buy: LoadUp is a fast-growing junk disposal service that offers a wide variety of services, as well as upfront and affordable pricing.
The College HUNKS team is perhaps best-known as a moving service, but if you have junk you need to get rid of, they can definitely help. Their team members are all well-trained to work efficiently, to deliver friendly customer service, and to show respect to your home or business.
- You can specifically ask them to do "donations pickups," grabbing old furniture or other unwanted items and taking them to a specified charity drop off center.
- They take a wide range of items and they make it easy to determine the total price of their services.
- They do pledge to be responsible and eco-friendly in everything they do, and can recycle up to 70% of all items they remove.
Why buy: The College HUNKS team has a stellar reputation for customer service. They also partner with Goodwill Industries and Habitat for Humanity ReStore to donate items. Plus, for every service they complete, they donate two meals to children through U.S. Hunger.
1-800-GOT-JUNK claims to be the world's largest junk removal company. Like other providers, they partner with local branches of national charities including the Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, and Habitat for Humanity. We also like them for the following reasons:
- They provide clear, upfront pricing.
- They express an admirable commitment to responsible disposal in order to keep stuff out of landfills, primarily through recycling.
- They have a 24/7 customer service line, making it easy to schedule a service whenever.
- They take a wide range of items, and are active across the United States and in multiple countries.
Why buy: 1-800-GOT-JUNK is a powerhouse in the junk removal space. They recycle several unique items, including green waste and biomass, tires, and construction debris.
What about those who would prefer to take the DIY route, dropping off their junk at a receiving center rather than having someone come pick it up? If you have only a few items, and a means of transporting them, this may be the simpler and more cost-effective approach. The best place for DIY junk disposal is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
You can take your unwanted furniture and home improvement items to ReStore, where they will be cleaned up and then sold to the public at a significantly discounted rate. This is an ideal way to ensure your junk gets a second life, rather than ending up in a landfill.
Why buy: For DIY junk removal, Habitat for Humanity's ReStore is a fantastic option. They help give used items a second life and provide furniture and other household items to those in need.
How Does Eco-Friendly Junk Removal Work?
As you consider hiring an eco-friendly junk removal service, it may be helpful to step back and consider how these companies work.
Generally, you'll start by getting a quote. This will require you to let the company know how much junk you need to have removed, where it is located (indoors or outside), and what the contents include. This helps the junk removal company make certain that they send the right personnel and equipment to get rid of it and that the items in question are not hazardous materials.
The junk removal company will assess items for whether they are still usable or could be refurbished, in which case they may be donated to shelters or other charities. Alternatively, they will seek to recycle your items. The goal of any eco-friendly junk removal company should be diverting items away from the landfills, and you can always ask a representative from your chosen company about what percentage of items they typically divert.
What Items Can a Junk Removal Company Recycle or Donate?
There are many types of items that can be either recycled or donated, and thus kept out of the landfill. A few of the most common categories include:
- Furniture and appliances
- Exercise equipment
- Clothing and shoes
- Home decor
- Utensils and kitchen implements
- Art supplies
- Toys and board games
- Paper, metal, cardboard, and brick items
- Brush and yard waste
Again, to find out for sure whether your items can be either donated or recycled, your best bet is simply to reach out to a junk hauler and ask for their assessment.
What is e-Waste and How is it Bad for the Environment?
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It's important to make special mention of e-waste, or electronic waste.
As we noted above, e-waste is a category that includes any electronic devices that have outlived their useful life and have been discarded.
One of the reasons why e-waste is so hazardous to the environment is that many electronics and computerized devices include toxic substances, which may include lead, beryllium, cadmium, and beyond. When they seep into the ground or the water, these substances can have long-term detrimental effects on local ecosystems, and even lead to public health concerns.
It's always important to ensure that any e-waste you have is taken care of by a company that specializes in processing electronics and computers in an environmentally responsible way.
Finding the Right Eco-Friendly Junk Removal Company
As you look for the right junk removal service, there are plenty of factors to consider, such as price point, range of service, and, of course, environmental stewardship.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. He covers natural health, nutrition, supplements, and clean energy. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.